The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule containing updated fire protection guidelines applicable to Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals, critical access hospitals (CAHs), long term care facilities, inpatient hospice facilities, ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), programs for all inclusive care for the elderly (PACE), religious non-medical healthcare institutions, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF-IIDs). The guidelines are intended to promote the health and safety of patients and their families as well as facility staff.
The final rule incorporates updated provisions of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA’s) 101® 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code and the NFPA’s 99® 2012 edition of the Health Care Facilities Code. A summary of some of the major provisions is set forth below:
CMS may accept a state’s fire and safety code provisions instead of the provisions of the Life Safety Code if it determines that the state’s provisions are equivalent to or more stringent than the Life Safety Code provisions. CMS also has the authority to grant waivers of specific provisions of the Life Safety Code if their application would result in unreasonable hardship for a facility, provided that the health and safety of the facility’s patients and staff would not be adversely affected.
Health care facilities affected by the final rule must comply with its provisions within 60 days of its publication in the Federal Register, or by July 5, 2016, unless an exception applies or a facility obtains a waiver of specific provisions.
If you have any questions regarding the final rule on fire safety requirements for health care facilities, please contact Rochelle H. Zapol, chair of the firm’s Health Care Practice Group and the author of this alert. You can reach Rochelle at 617 456 8036 or firstname.lastname@example.org.